No Read, Dagg for Sharks duel
Cape Town - Kieran Read and Israel Dagg will be on the sidelines when the Crusaders take on Super Rugby leaders the Sharks in Christchurch on Saturday.
The All Black No 8 Read has missed the Crusaders' past two matches, including last weekend's 57-29 win over the Reds in Brisbane, after his second head knock in a month forced him off the field against the Chiefs in mid-April.
“Kieran was still showing some really minor signs of concussion at the start of the week and, given that it’s been a short week for us to prepare anyway due to a late flight back from Brisbane, we decided the sensible thing to do was to make the call early that he wouldn’t be available. He hasn’t been able to fully participate in contact training for a little while so we’re better off giving him more space and time to get back to 100 percent,” coach Todd Blackadder told the Crusaders' official website
Blackadder also made three changes to the team that beat the Reds last weekend.
Dominic Bird will partner up with Samuel Whitelock at lock this week, with Luke Romano out of contention after breaking his ankle in last week’s match.
Scrumhalves Willi Heinz and Andy Ellis have rotated again so that Heinz takes the starting spot for his 50th Crusaders game.
The final change is at fullback, where Tom Taylor will step into the fold in place of All Black fullback Dagg.
“Leaving Izzy out of the mix this week is purely preventative,” said Blackadder. “We’ve been really happy with the way he’s been playing, but there are some early signs of wear and tear and we just want to make sure that we manage that so that he can continue to play at his best.”
Kick-off for Saturday's game is at 09:35 (SA time).Teams:Crusaders:
15 Tom Taylor, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ryan Crotty (captain), 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Willie Heinz, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 George Whitelock, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal, 23 Nafi TuitavakeSharks:
15. SP Marais 14. JP Pietersen 13. S’bura Sithole 12. Paul Jordaan 11. Lwazi Mvovo 10. Francois Steyn 9. Cobus Reinach 8. Willem Alberts 7. Jean Deysel 6. Tera Mtembu 5. Stephan Lewies 4. Etienne Oosthuizen 3. Jannie du Plessis 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain) 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper 17. Dale Chadwick 18. Lourens Adriaanse 19. Ryan Kankowski 20. Keegan Daniel 21. Charl McLeod 22. Tim Swiel 23. Heimar Williams